On the 20th of August, the respondent, a young 24 years old Moroccan, crossed the border from Serbia to Romania by foot, together with a group of two other men of the same nationality. The group left from the Majdan vicinity. From Romania they proceeded to go to Hungary. They first spent a night in a forest near the border, and finally reached the town of Dezsk. After a failed attempt to cross the Tibisco river, the group decided to rest and spent a night in a lorry carpark. They stayed there for three days without any food or water, until a local called the Police after seeing them. A patrol arrived shortly after and started looking for the group ; the respondent and one of his travel companions fled, and the remaining member, exhausted, stayed behind.
They walked « about 12km » until they stopped by a house on the side of the road to get some water and charge their phone. Their host secretly got in touch with the local Police and both the respondent and his companion were apprehended as they were trying to escape through the nearby forest. The unit was composed of three Police officers, including one wearing a camouflage uniform, and was driving in an Iveco van.
They searched the group’s bags and drove them to the police station. There, they were put in a cell with no access to food or water, despite the respondents’ requests. The room was not equipped with any windows, and the respondent reclaims the lack of air and the extreme heat within the cell.
As they were summoned to get up to be transferred somewhere else, one of the Police officers put handcuffs on both members of the group ; the handcuffs were tied to their belly, and the whole device was tied to a rope that was held by one of the guards. As the respondent protested and pointed out the illegality of the practise, he was ignored by the guard. « They treated us like dogs, like terrorists », he recalls.
The group was then brought to the crossing point they originally went through. They joined a group of 17 other detainees, mainly from Afghanistan. As they were asked to kneel and to put their hands on their head, another officer who was already on the scene took the respondent’s phone and destroyed it, after what, he took a picture of both members of the group and left.
They were then let free from the handcuffs and escorted back to the Serbian side of the border.